Saturday, June 20, 2015

Project Life 2015: Weeks 16-24

Our last few months have been quite full - too full to keep up with digital scrapbooking. But in the last few weeks, I've been able to take a bit of time here and there to slowly catch up. It's a relaxing, fun way for me to preserve memories, and to record the story God is writing in our lives. 

Here are a four of the thirteen pages I printed out this past week for my 2015 album. This year I've been using the "52 Weeks" style of scrapbooking. I'm also thankful for the Project Life templates and digital supplies that make preserving memories quick and easy.

Shown here are two of the nine pages that I created to record all that happened during our granddaughter's kidney transplant in April. So very thankful for all the ways that God cared for our granddaughter, Crystal, and also our daughter, Amy, who was the donor. You can click here to read more of our thanks.

It was a happy day when Crystal was released to go home from her stay in the hospital, and also when Amy was released to travel back to NE. And amazing that both happened on the same day - April 29! 

We arrived back home on April 30th, and entered the beautiful and full month of May. It was filled with graduation parties, Cru events, continuing to help Amy out after her kidney donor surgery (thankful to live just down the street from her), Mother's Day, and more ...

And now, we're past the middle of June already. Here's the most recent of the thirteen pages that I've made in recent weeks. Memories of our trip to a relative's funeral in KS, T-ball games for three of our grandsons, gardening. And more memories being made each day ...  

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Gifts of His Words

Especially when going through hard times, we need a lifeline to hold onto. Such was the case for me in April when we walked through weeks of kidney transplant with our granddaughter, and also our oldest daughter, who was the generous kidney donor. And we've been through hard times before. 

Trials are never easy, and over the years I've collected favorite verses that have carried me through those times of trials. Verses that hold comfort, and give life and strength when we are at our weakest.

And often, even in the seasons without trials, I love to collect favorite verses, and mount them on 3x5 cards. There is something life-giving about pulling a card out of my collection, and asking God to open my eyes and my heart, to let me read it as if for the very first time. And the truths penetrate deep into my heart, again. And I love to keep the card before me ... on my desk, or propped up by the window above the kitchen sink, or by the bathroom mirror ... stopping to read the words often throughout the day.

How can we even explain the richness found in His Words? Truth and life that speaks to us in our deepest places ... words from our Creator, our loving Father. For us ... for me. Alive, and more true than anything else.

The words of the Lord
are pure words,
like silver refined
in a furnace on the ground,
purified seven times.
(Psalm 12:6)

Pure silver, of greatest value - His Words.

Sometimes when I am looking for a gift to give someone I love, especially when they are going through a hard time and need a lifeline to hold onto ... I remember, and I give them the gift of His words. Passing on to them the same comfort that I have received. From Him.

The faithful love of the Lord never ends!
His mercies never cease.
Great is His faithfulness;
His mercies begin afresh each morning.
(Lamentations 3:22-23)

Linking up with:
Jennifer at Tell His Story
Bonnie at Beloved Brews

Thursday, June 11, 2015

In the Kitchen

Time for another glimpse into my kitchen! A fun little post for me to write, and maybe a bit of encouragement for you in your kitchen?

We've had some cooler-than-normal days this spring, and on one of those days recently, it just seemed like a grilled cheese and tomato soup kind of day. Using some homemade Herb Bread made it even a bit more special.

On one of my recent trips to Sam's, I picked up a 6# package of ground beef, a 6# package of chicken breast, a package of fully cooked bacon, and a package of beef brisket. I like to divide up the ground beef and also the chicken breast into smaller packages (for the two of us) before putting in the freezer. The cooked bacon comes in handy for some quick recipes, and I purchased the beef brisket for an upcoming staff meal. Besides the convenience of buying larger packages of meat, it also is a better price to purchase in larger packages.

My hubby and I both had bad colds two weeks ago. It was wonderful to have some freezer meals on hand. One day when I didn't feel up to cooking,  we enjoyed this comforting dish that I had prepared awhile ago ... Sunday Chicken and Stuffing.

It's always such fun to start picking veggies from our garden, and usually the first thing that is ready each spring/summer is the salad greens. What a treat to use freshly picked lettuce and spinach for a refreshing salad this past weekend!

My hubby planted two rows of salad greens (two different kinds), and also a row of spinach. He did something different this year and put the pepper plants in the same row as the salad greens, as the salad greens have such a short season. After the greens are done producing, the green peppers will have all the room they need as they grow.

Monday, June 8, 2015

A New Week: Of Most Importance

A Holy Experience - Free Tools & Framables Library

As a new week begins, I find myself focusing on preparing the "to-do" list for the coming week. There are so many things to keep track of, and so many things to remember to do. 

It has been a busy few months for my hubby and me, and just when we were beginning to see glimpses of things slowing down a few weeks ago, we both came down with bad colds. Which actually did slow us down in some ways for a time. And then just as we were recovering from those bad colds, our week last week filled up with some unexpected events (two funerals) that we needed to go to. One involved traveling out-of-state. And we are thankful, and blessed, that we could go and be with those we love.

And now, again, I am preparing for a new week. It is my default to always first prepare the calendar, the planner, and the lists. These are all essential. But they are not of most importance.

For it is of most important that I prepare my heart. And remind my heart and mind that intimacy is more important than productivity. 

This is the work (service) 
that God asks of you:
that you believe in the One whom He has sent
(that you cleave to, trust, rely on,
and have faith in His Messenger).
(John 6:29 AMP)

That's my daily work,
the work God asks of me.
To trust.
(One Thousand Gifts Devotional)

As a new week begins, with calendar and planner filled, my focus is not productivity ... but my focus is keeping in close connection with God, taking one day at a time, trusting Him moment by moment. 

A week of intimacy, not productivity.

Commit everything you do
to the Lord.
Trust Him,
and He will help you.
(Psalm 37:5)

Sharing thoughts that are on my mind as I begin a new week, and as I am reading through One Thousand Gifts Devotional: Reflections on Finding Everyday Graces by Ann Voskamp. And thankful for the free images she shares here.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Slow Cooker Steak with Gravy

We've enjoyed this recipe twice recently, and it is definitely one that I will be making over and over again. Watch for steak on sale, and stock up just to be able to make this moist, tender, delicious recipe. 

It's not only delicious, but also so easy ... just put steak, dry onion soup mix, cream of mushroom soup, and a bit of water in your slow cooker. Then heat on low for about 6 hours.

Please go here to view and print this recipe! It's a recipe that I had pinned to my Pinterest board - and one that I actually took time to make.

Monday, June 1, 2015

All, Every, and Always - Completely, Without End

Trials are not fun, but as we walk through them, we find that our main source of strength is always there. God is with us.  And maybe He tells us to welcome trials because He loves to shower us with His love and presence, especially during the hard times of life.

Last month our sweet granddaughter went through a much-needed kidney transplant, and our oldest daughter (Crystal's Aunt Amy) was the very generous donor. We were blessed to be able to travel to TX and be by our family's side through the two weeks of transplant and initial recovery. 

The days were quite intense as we walked through transplant with our family. And one of the lifelines I held onto were some verse cards that I had made up ahead of time. Verses that I had collected over the years, as we had walked through multiple hard times in the past. The words that I read were life-giving, and just what I needed each day as I would pull out a card to hold with me throughout whatever the coming day would bring.

All, every, and always ... unending. 

These words ... all, every, always, unending ... these were some of the words that called my heart to peace, words that were in verse after verse.  Verse card after verse card, filled with these all-encompassing words of comfort. I had never noticed this before, how often these words were used ...

O my people, trust in Him at all times.
Pour out your heart to Him,
for God is our refuge.
(Psalm 62:5-8)

Give thanks in all circumstances,
for this is God's will for you
in Christ Jesus.
(I Thess. 5:18)

Praise be the God and Father 
of our Lord Jesus Christ,
the Father of all compassion
and God of all comfort,
who comforts us in all our troubles,
so that we can comfort those in any trouble
with the comfort we ourselves
have received from God.
(II Cor. 1:4)

I didn't notice during the first few days of transplant and recovery how very often these words were in the verses of comfort that I had collected, but then, as the days went on, it became very clear to me. They were everywhere, in almost every verse. And these words are there for a reason ... for we are never alone, never without help, without comfort. We have our source of comfort with us, always and completely.

And my God will meet all your needs
according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus.
(Philippians 4:19)

 He who did not spare His own Son
but gave Him up for us all,
how will He not also with Him
graciously give us all things.
(Romans 8:32)

I pray that from
His glorious, unlimited resources
He will empower you with inner strength
through His Spirit.
(Ephesians 3:16)

As the days went on, the words continued even more, taking my breath away ... we were completely surrounded by His care, His unending all-encompassing love and presence with us ... always.

The faithful love of the Lord never ends!
His mercies never cease.
Great is His faithfulness;
His mercies begin afresh each morning.
(Lamentations 3:22-23)

Always be joyful.
Never stop praying.
Be thankful in all circumstances,
for this is God's will for
who belong to Christ Jesus.
(I Thess. 5:16-18)

Now may the Lord of Peace Himself
give you His peace
at all times and in every situation.
(II Thess. 3:16)

In one verse right after the other, reminders that God is always with us. Each individual verse, and collectively, so many verses. He is the all, every, always, completely, without end. There was (and is) no fear of ever being alone without His love and care. We can be filled with complete peace and trust as we go through our days. Our good days, and our harder, painful days. God with us ... always.

And we know that God causes everything
to work together for the good
of those who love God
and are called according to 
His purpose for them.
(Romans 8:28)

For more posts on this topic:

Linking up with:
Bonnie at Beloved Brews